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Nominet holds off on domain reservation plans

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UK register Nominet is to hold off implementing a wait listing service - a system that would allow people to reserve domains put back up for sale - for six months.

A recommendation to delay until other wide-ranging changes are made to the .uk domain system has been made by a sub-committee of Nominet's Policy Advisory Board following a public consultation earlier this year.

It will be put forward at the first PAB meeting since its recent elections on 2 April. The PAB will vote on whether to adopt the report, to which there would appear to be no reason why it shouldn't.

The sub-committee makes five main recommendations:


  1. No recommendation be made to the CoM [Nominet's Council of Management] to proceed with a WLS service at this stage.

  2. That the matter be reviewed by the PAB in six months time, taking into account results of the various Nominet projects, including the automaton anti-abuse provisions, the clearing of the backlog of the detagged and expired domain names, the new renewals system, and the PRSS review.

  3. That such a review should be done with regard to the points raised in submissions to this consultation.

  4. That Nominet's executive should alert the PAB should a WLS be required for operational rather than policy reasons.

  5. That Nominet's executive should bear in mind the likely design parameters of a WLS (should one eventually be determined desirable) when designing new systems.

So, basically, it's a matter of holding off until all the other changes in the system are in place.

Is this wise? Well, it's pragmatic. Nominet is completely reorganising itself and introducing a wait list service would vastly complicate matters since it impinges on most of the other changes. It is also fair to say that from the responses to the public consultation, which saw people fairly evenly split between "Yes", "No" and "Not now", it was difficult to reach any other conclusion.

The downside is that there will be no official system in place at a vital point in the .uk domain's history - namely when the 750,000 domains that are currently in limbo in Nominet's system are released within the next six months. The domains - which represented 20 per cent of all UK domains - are part of a massive backlog created by a flawed initial system set up at the start of the .uk domain's life. This is good news however for the mini industry that has evolved around getting hold of freshly released UK domains.

The other risk is that despite the recommendation that Nominet account for a possible future WLS in reorganising its systems, that it won't and so if at a later date one is introduced, we can expect a year's worth of cock-ups.

One major point that we would like to raise however is the degree of interaction between the PAB/Nominet and its members and Internet users. The report says the 22 responses it received with regard to the WLS were "encouraging in respect of prior Nominet PAB consultations" but "still represented only a small proportion of members, and a miniscule proportion of registrants".

Nominet has been heavily criticised in the past for being a closed shop, however there now appears to be a genuine move toward openness and inclusion in its decision-making processes. This is supported by the posting of all submissions on Nominet's website for public consumption.

With two new members joining the PAB next month - both renowned for campaigning and telling it like it is - now is your chance to make the organisation running the uk registry the sort of Internet democracy that was always envisaged in the early days of the Net - a model that has been so damaged by the actions of ICANN.

Achieving that goal is simply a case of formally telling Nominet what your views are, no matter who you are.®

Related story
Get hold of your dream .uk domain

Related link
WLS report (pdf)
Responses to WLS consultation

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